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An introduction to Kipling -
Kipling is a Belgian brand, founded in 1987 in Antwerp. It was originally just a luggage company - making lightweight functional travelling bags, with lots of space and organisation. But over the years it's expanded significantly, making bags and purses of all shapes and styles, in different colours/prints, fabrics and even leather. Kipling also make accessories and stationary too! They have many different bag collections including -
Basic - the original best selling collection, made of their famous lightweight crinkle nylon in endless colours and prints, with a fluffy monkey.
Basic Elevated - a more dressy version of the basic, with patent trim, metal tags and padded/quilted areas
Basic Leather - the basic designs made in leather with a metal monkey
Kipling Signature - like the basic elevated, with Kipling wording woven through the fabric
Kipling City - a smoother nylon, dressier version (aimed to appeal more to working women)
Kipling Vintage - a more utilitarian/cargo style (have more unisex styles) with a fluffy monkey with a mohawk hairdo
Kipling Sport Intense - a retro quilted nylon sporty design with metal tags
Kipling Lacquer - the basic designs, with a lacquer sheeny or metallic coating
The Kipling bags vary hugely in price, according to finish (leather, lacquer and prints are more expensive obviously) and size. All the basic bags come with a monkey, and all the colours have a different named monkey, named after a Kipling employee somewhere in the world. The monkeys are a homage to King Louis from Rudyard Kipling's 'The Jungle Book' - with the company being named Kipling in reference to Rudyard Kipling's travels.
Back to the review of the Reth bag -
I am a massive fan of Kipling bags, and own several different styles. The Reth however, is my "go to" bag and I use it far more than any of my others. It's from the basic collection, and a best seller so clearly others share my opinion.
The Reth measures 27 L x 17.5 H x 15 W cm and has a capacity of 6.5 litres. This may sound quite small to those ladies who carry a massive "everything but the kitchen sink" bag - but really the size is quite deceptive as it holds an awful lot more than looks would have you believe. Kipling bags in general are often referred to as being like a "tardis", and once you use one it's easy to see why.
Kipling pride themselves on making bags with excellent organisation, and the Reth is no exception. It has two main top zipped compartments, one of which has an interior zipped pocket and key fob (I love the key fob as I never have to rummage for my keys anymore!). There's also a back zipped pocket, which is the perfect place for your purse as it's hidden against your body when the bag is worn. And finally there is the front zipped compartment, which is easy to dip into and has individual pockets for your phone, ipod and 2 pens/pencils - and lots of extra space for anything you might need to have to hand, like your passport for example.
The Reth has a comfortable strong canvas strap, which allows it to be worn as either a shoulder bag or an across body bag. The strap can be adjusted to 120cm long, which allows plenty of room for Winter padding (or excess calorie padding if you are like me!). It adjusts using metal slider, and it's incredibly easy and smooth to slide into place, and stays exactly where you want it to be with no slipping.
Kipling are also famed for their zips (on the basic range), which are chunky and excellent quality, and very easy to do up and undo thanks to the equally chunky metal and rubber zip pulls. These are fabulous if you have dexterity problems, but regardless of that look really cool and set the bag apart for others. The zips have always make me think of biker jackets!
The range of colours Kipling offer is endless, with them bringing new colours out every 6 months, including limited editions and prints. My Reth bag is in the 2012 Light Brown colour, with a monkey named Manuela. The light brown is a lovely mink-brown/taupe colour, which is a perfect neutral shade that makes a change from boring black, dark brown or navy. If you are into your fashion/beauty then I would compare the colour to a slightly darker 'Kelly Hoppen taupe', or Nails Inc. Jermyn Street.
The size of the Kipling Reth is, for me, perfect for everyday/work use (assuming you don't take files/laptops to work). I'm a mum, and I can fit my purse, keys, phone, pack of baby wipes, 3-4 disposable nappies, a bottle, carton of milk, spare top for baby, bib, umbrella (if necessary) and small make-up bag. It would easily fit a book or kindle, small bottle of drink, tuppaware lunch box and the standard phone/purse/keys with room to spare. I think anything bigger than this either leaves wasted space, or encourages you to carry things around that you don't really need!
The Reth is a boxy shape, with a very wide base which allows it to be packed very full whilst remaining compact. The nylon fabric is almost weightless, which means it's really light to carry even when full, and it's also water resistant so the contents won't get ruined in a sudden shower. The lining is also water resistant so you could, in theory, put a damp umbrella in one compartment without the moisture seeping though to other sections (I haven't done this personally). Being water resistant makes it incredibly easy to wipe clean with a damp sponge, although I have on occasions put my bags through the wash on a 30 degree 'handwash' cycle with no problems (just remove the monkey first). If it was a print or lacquer finish I probably wouldn't would stick to wiping it clean.
In conclusion, I love my Kipling Reth, and the Kipling brand in general. It offers everyday practicality, organisation and trendy styling at an affordable price compared to other designer brands.
Kipling was founded in 1987 in Belgium.
Every Kipling bag comes with a monkey key-hanger, which can be removed if you do not like that sort of thing.
--Why I Bought---
Like many others I was very sceptical about the rave reviews that I was hearing about Kipling bags.
However I am now a proud owner of a few myself and now I also rave about them!
---About Kipling Bags---
They are so lightweight, washable (though the manufacturers state they should be spot cleaned - but they can be easily washed at 30 degrees in a machine or gently by hand).
1 - Lightweight
2 - Lots of organisation pockets
3 - Some cross body for convenience
4 - Keyfob to attach your keys to the bag
5 - Nice chunky zip-pulls
6 - Cute monkey keyring - which can be removed if you choose
7 - Lots of colour choices
8 - Easy to clean.
---The Reth Bag---
Size - 27 cm long x 17.5 cm high 15 cm wide.
This is classed as the Medium Reth but there is also a Small version with just one main pocket instead of two - plus it is generally smaller.
A nice casual shoulder bag:
* 2 top zipped main compartments
* Zipped inner pocket
* Clipped key cord
* Front pocket with phone drop pocket, 2 pen pockets
* Zipped pocket on the back
* Adjustable shoulder strap (120 cmx3 cm)
* Furry monkey key ring
* Lining: nylon fabric
* Material: crinkle nylon.
Can be worn on the shoulder or across the body.
At present the bag is selling on the Kipling website in 15 colours in the standard material and another 9 in either the print or laquer finishes. The standard bag comes in a range of colours from the normal black, and brown to vibrant pinks, greens, orange and purple.
The laquer finish is a coating over the normal bag that gives it a semi shiney finish - these are in black, red, khaki - the patterned Kipling bags also tend to be more expensive.
As with most Kipling bags the price for different colours varies from day to day and at present (January 2012) the price goes from £29.50 for the Organic Green up to £72 for the Laquer versions (on Amazon).
On the Kipling website the special laquer finish and print versions are selling at £72 while some of the standard ones are reduced from over £60 to various different prices.
I just love my Reth bag.
I love having all the different pockets to keep my stuff organised and the only downside of any Kipling bag I would say would be the cost - but I kept an eye out and purchased mine when on offer - which they are sometimes on Amazon or Javari.
The bag has a nice 'square' shape and although it has two main pockets plus front and back pockets they are all nicely made as part of the bag and so I would call it sleek - as I do not like lots of bulging little pockets all over the place.
I bougth mine in Peppery (see above picture) - a lovely beige/khaki sort of mottled colour that is a type of neutral colour. I find that this will go with anything - as opposed to some of the other Kipling colours which can be very vibrant.
My little Peppery monkey is called ALLIE.
When the bag is empty is weighs next to nothing - which is great for me as I use a mobility scooter a lot of the time and this is not too heavy and is nice and squashy so will fit in my basket easily.
The back pocket I use for my phone, the front organiser section is great for pens, my camera, cheque books (yes I still have some), credit cards and other bits of paper.
The two main sections are both the same size and the full size of the bag - one will hold a huge wallet and the other can hold a book, bottle of water or small unbrella.
The zips are chunky and strong with Kipling logo on the zip pulls.
I also keep the village hall keys on the attached key fob in the bag so I always know where to find them.
The fabric and lining are both water resistant - so unless you are out in a complete downpour the contents should be alright - I was caught in a hail shower yesterday and all the contents stayed dry.
The prices vary so much for the different Kipling designs and colours it is always worth checking online and you may be able to pick up a bargain.
I would not have been able to pay £62 which is what my bag is now selling for on Amazon but I picked it up for under £30 before Christmas - these offers do come along but you have to be quick to grab them.
4 stars - the bag would get 5 but because of cost I gave it a 4.
---Would I Recommend?---
Yes definitely - this is one of my favourite Kipling bags so far and I intend to get it in some other colours if I can grap myself a bargain price sometime!
You can also find various clips showing the size and layout of various Kipling bags by visiting YouTube.
Can be found in many shops but I get mine on line mostly from Amazon or Javari.
You can also buy then from the official Kipling website, QVC shopping channel or various other handbag websites.